King George's Welcome to Ireland

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KING GEORGE'S WELCOME TO IRELAND. English, Jig (6/8 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). ABC. The melody appears in the music manuscript book of John Burks, dated 1821, a musician who may have been from the north of England (photocopy in ed. possession). The tune presumably honors King George IV (1762-1830), son of George III, who had been Prince of Wales, then Prince Regent since 1811 when it was apparent that his father's mental instability no longer allowed him to govern. In 1820, at the age of 59, George became King George IV, when his father died blind and insane. George was affectionately (and derisively) known as "Prinny" to his subjects and "managed simultaneously to be a national scandal, a national disaster, a national achievement, and a national entertainment" (Bryant, Age of Elegance, 109). In 1821 King George visited Ireland and was received with great enthusiasm. The Catholic population had high hopes that the visit would usher in relief from oppressive laws and culminate in emancipation. George spent a month in the country and when his visit ended he expressed gratification at his reception. A copper penny was struck in Ireland in his honor in 1822. There was no forthcoming emancipation or perceptible relief for the majority of the population. In the manuscript the tune is attributed to "Goulding, 1822." It is not known to whom this refers, although the firm of Goulding, Phipps and D'Almaine were 'music sellers' to the Prince of Wales. In 1800 Goulding & Co. published a sumptuous piano/vocal edition of Thomas Attwood's comic opera St. David's Day, or the Honest Welshman to celebrate the feast day of the patron saint of Wales, dedicated by permission to George, Prince of Wales.

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